President Donald Trump backed away from an earlier claim that he may declare a national emergency in a bid to secure funding for a wall on the U.S. Mexican border, even as the shutdown caused by the budget dispute became the longest-ever.
“What we’re not looking to do right now is a national emergency,” Trump told reporters at a White House meeting on national security.
Trump insisted on Friday he was within his rights to declare a national emergency to secure funding, but said: “I’m not going to do it so fast.”
The remarks came only hours before a partial U.S. government shutdown became the longest in the country’s history, with departments having been closed for 22 days over a failure to agree funding for Trump’s wall.
U.S. President Donald Trump (2nd L) speaks as (L-R) Sheriff Carolyn ‘Bunny’ Welsh of Chester County of Pennsylvania, Sheriff A.J. Louderback of Jackson County of Texas, and Pastor Pasqual Urrabazo of International Church of Las Vegas, listen during a round-table discussion on border security and safe communities with State, local, and community leaders in the Cabinet Room of the White House on January 11, 2019 in Washington, DC. Getty Images
The White House has requested $5 billion funding for the wall, which it claims is essential for national security and humanitarian reasons, but Democrats claim the wall is a political stunt, and have offered $1.3 billion for additional border security funding.
Trump had earlier said he would declare a national emergency to fund the wall, bypassing Congress and securing the money for the barrier from the department of defense.
However he would likely face accusations of overreach of executive authority if he takes the step, and legal challenges from opponents.
In his remark Friday, Trump called for Democrats to back down and agree the funding.
“This is where I ask the Democrats to come back to Washington and vote for money for the all the barrier,” Trump added. “I don’t care what they name it. They can name it peaches.”